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Safety & style in focus, modernising balconies

The condition of your balconies and balustrades will affect your property’s curb appeal

Your property’s outdoor spaces should allure and entice, inspiring guests to marvel at magnificent views from beautiful balconies and balustrades while also feeling safe and secure.

As highly visible components of the exterior, the condition of your balconies and balustrades will affect your property’s curb appeal. To impress, they must be always pristine.

Read this and more in the new summer print edition of AccomNews. Read it HERE

Due to location and weather, even the most well-built and well-maintained balconies and balustrades can be prone to a range of issues and challenges. Fading paint, rust, or general wear and tear can negatively impact their overall appearance over time. Neglect can lead to structural problems such as cracks, corrosion, or weakening of support elements. Importantly, this can compromise the safety and stability of these structures.

Poor waterproofing or inadequate drainage systems can lead to water penetration, resulting in leaks and water damage to both the balcony structure and the interior spaces below.

Grout between tiles and sealant around joints and edges can degrade over time and can also result in water infiltration. Missing grout can also pose a trip hazard.

Inadequately designed or maintained balustrades may not meet safety standards, and loose or damaged balustrades can lead to accidents.

Balconies and balustrades require regular maintenance, including cleaning, inspection, and repair. Neglecting upkeep leads to more significant problems down the line and higher repair or replacement costs. Therefore, proactive maintenance is imperative.

We bring you insights from seasoned experts…

Modern aesthetics and safety

One of the primary goals of balcony and balustrade refurbishments is to achieve a stylish outdoor space for guests to enjoy without compromising on safety. A modern approach to refurbishment should prioritise both.

Rodrigo Hidalgo, Project Manager and Architect, from CPR Facade Upgrade Specialists, emphasised the importance of engaging the right contractor. He said: “Reasons for refurbishment of balconies can vary from simple aesthetic upgrades to addressing technical problems like water penetration and damage, corrosion, or structural issues in the worst scenarios. Whatever the reason, it is recommended to engage the right contractor because many things can go wrong with DIY projects on balconies, especially in high rise apartments. Safety is the primary concern.

“Working in a reduced area at high levels above the ground must be carried out by qualified tradespeople to ensure that the risks of falling objects and people are safely mitigated. It is important to note that when the project involves balustrade replacement, the balcony becomes a high-risk working area where all considerations for protection and limitation of residents’ access must be considered.”

Image courtesy of CPR Facade Upgrade Specialists

Innovative balustrade solutions

The latest balustrade products have set new standards in design and safety. These solutions not only serve their practical purpose but also contribute significantly to the overall ambiance of the outdoor space.

Mr Hidalgo highlighted the importance of compliance with Australian Standards. “Replacement of balustrades is a task that will be carried out probably once in the lifetime of a building, meaning that the new addition or alteration needs to meet the standards of the time,” he stated. “It’s imperative that the manufacturer and installer can demonstrate compliance both with the design and during installation.”

Concrete balconies have long been a staple in the accommodation industry. However, their durability and life expectancy can be enhanced through thoughtful design features and materials. Vicente Ramirez Senior Project Manager from CPR Facade Upgrade Specialists provided insight on this.

He said: “Floors must be properly sealed with waterproofing paint or membranes under the tiles, proper sealant around the boundaries (between tiles and sliding door frame and walls). All signs of rust on ceilings should be treated. Proper paint coatings should be applied to all surfaces, cleaned every three years, and recoated every 10 years.”

Image courtesy of CPR Facade Upgrade Specialists. Eastgate Balconies

Advanced waterproofing and repair

Addressing grout and waterproofing issues is crucial to balcony maintenance, Mr Ramirez advised.

“Grout is water-resistant, not waterproof. Therefore, balcony drains should always be clear to allow any water to drain away, avoiding any pooling. Grout can be sealed, applying grout sealer to improve its water resistance. If grout is deteriorated, it should be replaced,” he said.

 “Proper grouting in floors, as well as waterproofing membranes and sealants around the boundaries, should last 15 years.

Employ trained professionals

Both experts stressed the importance of employing trained professionals for regular maintenance.

Mr Ramirez explained: “Trained professionals can see things that average people don’t. They can identify problems sometimes before they happen or choose the optimal solution for a specific situation.”

Mr Hidalgo added: “Just like any building upgrade, the refurbishment of a balcony immediately increases an asset’s value. While balustrades don’t always need replacing, they are candidates for revival whenever quoting a building for exterior works. Repainting a balcony and its balustrades on older style buildings is a must whenever a façade repaint is required.”

New trends in design

There has been a move towards glass for new buildings. It’s a versatile material that offers practical and aesthetic advantages, maximising benefits of natural light and boosting appeal with stylish glass balustrade options.

The use of stainless-steel frames mixed with glass provides not just a stylish upgrade; but also ensures a longer life expectancy due to the anticorrosive properties of both materials.

Modern safety standards

New standards in design and safety of balustrades have been set with the latest in structural glass products. High resistance glass mixed with high-grade aluminium channels offers frameless uninterrupted views, creating a whole new experience for guests, especially those who use wheelchairs.

By embracing innovative solutions and investing in maintenance with the guidance of qualified professionals, operators can really elevate the guest experience.

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